Recipe: Summer Tomato Jam

I tried this recipe for the first time two years ago, and have been dreaming of it ever since. 

My Uncle Olivier, a Benedictine Monk in France, had invited Jacob and me to spend a week at the monastery. I remembered visiting the monastery with my family as a child, captivated by it's air of sublimity and mystery,  moss grown stone walls, and shaded orchards. 

This time all of those same impressions held true, but a new facet of our experience caught my attention: the food. 

Summer Tomato Jam

The majority of our meals were shared in a communal dining hall, the food eaten in silence with polite nods and gestures to offer or ask for more food. Unmarked bottles of red wine graced the tables for lunch and dinner. The meal always began with a light soup, followed by a vegetable and a grain dish. Meat or fish was served on the weekends. Simple though the menus were, they never failed to satisfy.

In the morning, breakfast was served in the guest house - typically loaves of fresh bread served with homemade jams and butter. It was here that I discovered sweet tomato jam, and my life was changed. 

This gorgeously balanced sweet-tart jam uses the rich flavors of summer tomatoes to their fullest potential. The recipe and ingredients are simple - a slow simmer with a bit of sugar and apple cider vinegar and the tomatoes break down into the best thing you ever tasted. (I will grant that my culinary world would be dead without tomatoes, so I might be a bit biased.)

Serve it with bread and butter like we had in the monastery, though I guarantee once you taste it you will be tempted to eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon.